Revenue vs. Profit: What's the Difference?

Written by
Aaron Oh
Published on
February 27, 2024

Meet Harsh, who has started his own business, selling 100 licenses of his project management software at S$100 each. That's a whopping S$10,000 in his revenue jar.

But wait, does Harsh get to keep all S$10,000? Not quite. There are bills to pay: office rent, salaries, coffee runs, and taxes.

To keep it simple, the money from selling licenses is Harsh's revenue. After he's paid all the bills, whatever's left is his profit. It's like running a lemonade stand but with software—first, you sell, then you subtract the costs to find your sweet profit. 

However, when it comes to running a business, there's a lot more to revenues and profits. So, let's take a closer look at what’s Revenue vs Profit.

What Is Revenue?

Revenue is the money your business makes from selling products or providing services. Typically, revenue denotes the earnings of a company over a defined timeframe, like a month, quarter, or year. It's super important because it shows how well your business is doing financially. Here's why it matters:

  1. Financial Health: Revenue tells you if your business is making enough money to cover its costs and keep growing.
  2. Investor Interest: Investors look at your revenue to decide whether to invest in your business. Higher revenue can make your business more attractive to investors.
  3. Growth Potential: When your revenue increases, your business grows and does well in the market. You can use that money to improve your business, like developing new products or reaching more customers.

What Are The Different Types Of Revenues?

Let's break down the various types of revenue you might come across as a business owner, along with some examples:

Gross Revenue

Consider a software development company that sells licenses for its productivity software. The gross revenue for this company would be the total income generated from selling these software licenses without factoring in expenses like salaries, office rent, or marketing costs.

Net Revenue

Let's look at the income statement of same software development company. The net revenue would be the income left after subtracting all operating expenses, such as salaries for developers, administrative costs, software development tools, and marketing expenses, from the total revenue generated by selling software licenses.

Operating Revenue

This type of revenue pertains specifically to income derived from your core business operations. Imagine you run a bakery business. The revenue from selling bread, cakes, and pastries directly from your bakery shop would constitute your operating revenue. This revenue is derived from your core business operations of baking and selling bakery products.

Non-operating Revenue

Sometimes, businesses make extra money from things that aren't their primary job. Non-operating revenue is the cash they get from these extra sources. Imagine you run a music store but also own a parking lot next door that you rent out to a nearby restaurant for their customers. The money you make from renting out the parking lot is non-operating revenue because it's not directly related to selling musical instruments.

How To Calculate The Revenue Of A Business?

Calculating the revenue of a business involves a simple formula:

Revenue = Number of Products or Services Sold × Selling Price

To calculate revenue:

  1. Determine the Number of Products or Services Sold: Count the total quantity of products sold or services rendered within a specific period. Depending on your reporting needs, this could be daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.
  2. Identify the Selling Price: Determine the price at which each product or service is sold. This could be a fixed price per unit or variable prices depending on factors like discounts or promotions.
  3. Multiply the Number of Products or Services Sold by the Selling Price: Multiply the total quantity of products or services sold by the selling price per unit. This calculation yields the total revenue generated from sales.

For example, if a bookstore sells 200 books at S$10 each, the revenue would be:

Revenue=200 books × S$10/book = S$2000

This formula provides a straightforward way to calculate the revenue of a business based on its sales activities.

What Are The Factors That Affect Revenue?

Here are some of the factors that can affect your company’s revenue positively or negatively. 

  1. Market Demand: The more people want what you sell, the more money you make. Keep an eye on what customers like and what they're willing to pay for.
  2. Pricing Strategy: Set your prices just right. Too high, and people might not buy. Too low, and you might not make enough money.
  3. Marketing and Sales Efforts: Put effort into telling people about your business and convincing them to buy from you. Good marketing and sales can bring in more customers and more sales.
  4. Competition: Pay attention to what other businesses are doing. If they offer something better or cheaper, it might affect how much you sell.
  5. Product or Service Quality: Make sure what you're selling is good. Customers are more likely to come back if they like what they get.
  6. Economic Conditions: Keep an eye on how the economy is doing. When times are tough, people might spend less, which could affect your sales.
  7. Seasonality: Some businesses do better at certain times of the year. For example, if you sell ice cream, you might sell more in the summer than in the winter.
  8. Technological Changes: Stay updated with new technology. It might open up new ways to make money or change how people buy from you.
  9. Regulatory Environment: Pay attention to rules and regulations that affect your business. Changes in laws could impact how much you can sell or how much it costs to run your business.
  10. Customer Feedback and Satisfaction: Listen to what your customers say. Happy customers are more likely to come back and tell others about your business, which can bring in more sales.

Now, let’s understand what profit is, and we can move on to profit vs revenue.

What Is Profit?

Profit is the money you make after subtracting all your business expenses from your total revenue. It's what's left over once you've paid all the bills and operating costs.

Profit is a crucial measure of your business's success and financial health. It tells you whether your business is making more money than it's spending, which is essential for long-term sustainability and growth. Ultimately, your goal as a business owner is to maximise profit by increasing revenue, reducing expenses, or both.

What Are The Different Types Of Profits?

As a business owner, you know that your company’s profitability numbers guide essential strategic and policy decisions, making profit analysis serious business (no pun intended). Here are the three most common ways to measure profit:

Gross Profit

This is the profit you earn after subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS) from your revenue. For instance, if you sell a product for S$100 and it costs S$60 to acquire or produce it, your gross profit is S$40.

Operating Profit

Operating profit remains after subtracting operating expenses (like salaries, rent, utilities, and marketing costs) from gross profit. For example, if your restaurant's gross profit from food sales is S$50,000 and its operating expenses are S$30,000, your operating profit is S$20,000.

Net Profit

Also known as the bottom line, net profit, which is different from gross profit, is left after deducting all expenses, including taxes and interest, from total revenue. For instance, if your software company has total revenue of S$100,000 and total expenses of S$60,000 (including taxes and interest), your net profit is S$40,000.

How To Calculate Profit?

To calculate profit, you start with the revenue generated from sales and then subtract all expenses incurred to generate revenue. Here's how you can build on the given example:

Let's say the cost price of each book for the bookstore is S$6, and they have other expenses totalling S$500 for things like rent, utilities, and salaries.

  1. Calculate Total Revenue: 

Total Revenue = Number of Books Sold × Selling Price per Book

Total Revenue = 200 books×S$10/book = S$2000

  1. Calculate Total Cost: 

Total Cost = Cost per Book × Number of Books Sold + Other Expenses

Total Cost = S$6/book × 200 books + S$500 = S$1200 + S$500 = S$1700 

  1. Calculate Profit: 

Profit = Total Revenue − Total Cost 

Profit = S$2000 − S$1700 = S$300

So, in this example, the profit made by the bookstore from selling 200 books at S$10 each is S$300.

This calculation demonstrates that profit is what's left over from revenue after deducting all expenses. It's the money the business has earned above and beyond what it costs to generate that revenue.

What Are The Factors That Affect Profit?

Here are the key ones:

  1. Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): The expenses associated with producing or purchasing the products you sell directly affect your profit margins. Keeping these costs low while maintaining quality is crucial for maximising profit.
  2. Operating Expenses: These include expenses like rent, utilities, salaries, marketing, and administrative costs. Managing these expenses efficiently is essential for improving profit margins.
  3. Pricing Strategy: Setting the right prices for your products or services is crucial for profitability. Pricing too high may deter customers, while pricing too low could affect your profit margins.
  4. Sales Volume: Increasing the number of products or services sold can boost revenue and potentially increase profit, provided that the increase in sales outweighs any associated costs.
  5. Market Competition: Competing with other businesses can pressure prices and profit margins. Understanding your competitors and finding ways to differentiate your offerings can help maintain profitability.
  6. Economic Conditions: Economic factors such as inflation, interest rates, and consumer confidence can impact consumer spending habits, affecting sales and profit levels.
  7. Customer Retention and Acquisition: Acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones is essential for sustainable profit growth. Investing in customer satisfaction and loyalty programs can help improve retention rates and profitability.
  8. Operational Efficiency: Streamlining processes, reducing waste, and improving productivity can lower operating costs and increase profit margins.
  9. Technology and Innovation: Embracing new technologies and innovations can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and open up new revenue streams, ultimately leading to increased profitability.
  10. Regulatory Environment: Regulation changes and compliance requirements can impact business operations and costs, affecting profitability. Staying informed and adapting to regulatory changes is essential for maintaining profitability.

Turning Revenue into Profit

  1. Start with Gross Sales: Calculate your total income from sales before any adjustments. 

For example, if your clothing store sells 200 shirts at S$25 each, your gross sales are S$5,000.

  1. Move to Net Sales: Adjust for allowances, discounts, and returns to get a clearer picture of your actual income. 

Let's say you offer a 15% discount during a promotional sale, and customers return 10 shirts for a refund. After applying these adjustments, your net sales are S$4,000.

  1. Calculate Gross Profit: Subtract the cost of goods sold (COGS) from your net sales to find out how much you're making after accounting for production costs. 

If it costs you S$10 to purchase each shirt from your supplier, your gross profit is S$4,000 - (S$10 * 200) = S$4,000 - S$2,000 = S$2,000.

  1. Determine Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT): Subtract operating costs from gross profit to understand your business's financial performance before interest and taxes. 

If your operating costs, including rent, utilities, and employee salaries, total S$1,000, your EBIT is S$2,000 - S$1,000 = S$1,000.

  1. Reach Net Profit: Finally, deduct any interest or taxes from EBIT to get your net profit, showing your business's true profitability. If your interest and tax expenses amount to S$200, your net profit is S$1,000 - S$200 = S$800.

This process helps you understand how your revenue translates into profit, providing valuable insights into your clothing store's financial health.

What's The Importance Of Knowing Revenue Vs Profit For A Business?

As a business owner, understanding revenue and profit is crucial for your company's financial health, and your company's future.

Revenue is like the big headline number that grabs attention—it's the total money you make from selling your products or services. It shows the demand for what you offer and how effective your marketing efforts are. When revenue goes up, it's a sign of growth, but if it stays the same or goes down, it's a warning sign that something might be wrong.

Profit, on the other hand, is a more detailed look at your finances. It tells you whether you're making more money than you're spending overall. If you're making a profit, your business is doing well and can keep going in the long run. But if you're not making a profit or if your profit is shrinking, it's a sign that you might be in trouble financially.

So, while revenue shows how much money you're bringing in, profit tells you if your business is truly sustainable and on the right track for long-term success.

Which Number Holds Greater Significance—Revenue vs Profit?

While both are important, net profit gives you the fullest picture of your financial health. It considers all your regular expenses and shows how well you manage your finances.

Gross profit is also crucial. It shows how much money you make after subtracting the direct costs of making or buying your products. When gross profits go up, it's a good sign for your business's strength and potential growth. But remember, gross profit alone doesn't show your financial health because it only includes some other costs like rent, utilities, and salaries.

So, while gross profit gives you insights into your sales and production costs, net profit is the number that truly reflects how well your business is doing overall.

Understanding Revenue vs Profit

Revenue is the total income generated from sales of products or services, while profit is the amount of money left over after subtracting all expenses from revenue. In simple terms, revenue is the money coming in, while profit is what's left after paying all the bills.

How Aspire Can Help You Manage Expenses?

  1. Expense Tracking: With Aspire, you can effortlessly track all your business expenses in one convenient location. Categorise expenses, attach receipts and automate imports from your bank accounts or credit cards for easy monitoring.
  2. Budgeting: Set budgets for expenses like marketing, utilities, or office supplies. Aspire lets you track your spending against these budgets in real time and receive alerts when you're nearing or exceeding your limits.
  3. Expense Approval Workflows: If you have a team, use Aspire's expense approval workflows to ensure that expenses are reviewed and approved before reimbursement or payment. Set up rules and permissions to streamline the process.
  4. Financial Reporting: Gain valuable insights into your business's spending patterns and trends with Aspire's customisable financial reports. Identify areas where you can save money and make informed decisions about expense management.
  5. Integration with Accounting Software: Aspire seamlessly integrates with popular accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks. Sync your expense data effortlessly and streamline your financial processes for enhanced efficiency.

By leveraging Aspire's expense management features, you can efficiently track, analyse, and control your expenses, leading to better financial management and improved profitability for your business. 

So, open a business account right now!

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About the author
Aaron Oh
is a seasoned content writer specialising in finance, insurance and tech industries. With a writing history at S&P Global, EdgeProp, Indeed, Prudential, and others, Aaron leverages finance knowledge and business insights to help businesses improve productivity and performance.
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